A Bright Soothing Noise.

Author:Khan, Shoilee
Position:Book review

Peter Brown (author); A BRIGHT SOOTHING NOISE; University of North Texas Press (Fiction) $14.95 ISBN: 9781574412918

Byline: Shoilee Khan

In A Bright Soothing Noise, Peter Brown offers readers an edgy collection of short stories that unflinchingly explores pivotal moments of change in a set of desperate lives. Intense and often stupefying, the eleven stories in this collection invite readers to journey the seemingly acrid interiors of a hob-knob collection of characters trudging through the minutiae of daily life. From dead-beats and alcoholics to strippers and pubescent intellectuals, Brown peels away superficial layers to reveal the monstrous beauty of finding meaning and belonging in a sterile, unfriendly world.

Brown's characters, who live on the periphery of society in quiet desperation, their connections to the world tenuous, often fleeting, serve as one of the major strengths of the collection: An absentee father, chugging Sprite and driving a Corolla, coasts along the highway suddenly desperate to return to his family; a young waitress in love with the rough, dismissive affections of an old, Haitian cook; or the delightful ramblings of a young literati who finds the heart of humanity in a set of rambunctious farm pigs. Brown's expert characterization of their vulnerabilities and perspectives is razor-sharp and original -- there is nothing begrudgingly familiar about these stories. Readers may have met these characters before -- what's a contemporary collection without a waitress in love, or a dead-beat dad? -- but never quite like this. Brown's cut-throat style, his ability to transcribe...

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